LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for TSE Archives


TSE Archives

TSE Archives


TSE@PO.MISSOURI.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

TSE Home

TSE Home

TSE  January 2010

TSE January 2010

Subject:

Re: Interesting examples--Eliot and internationalism

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Wed, 6 Jan 2010 09:53:14 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (173 lines)

Diana Manister wrote:
> 
> Dear Nancy,
> 
> What could a "total library" possibly be? I'm surprised at
> this illusion that texts could somehow be totalized. I understand the
> intention to be more complete, but "total"?
> 
> I haven't read "The Library of Babel" but surely he qualifies the
> notion of totalization in it? I'll search it out.

I haven't read it either, but surely the title suggests that what
follows will be the illusory taken seriously? It would weaken the force
of "Babel" to propose anything but a "total" library. And if, as Nancy's
sources argue, he was influenced by "Tradition and the Individual
Talent," then it would not be true to his source to propose relistic
qualifications, for that essay with a straight face proposes that _all_
the existing monuments from Homer exist simultaneously. But of course
some of the existing monuments no longer exist: e.g. most of the plays
of Aeschylus and Sophocles.

A realistic library of all the books that can reasonably be collected in
it is a banal affair. But a _total library_! That makes the imagination
reel; it generates thought. It offers a perspective on the existing
"libraries" -- that is, those that exist in the heads of reders. You
have a library in your head consisting of books you have read, books you
have not read but know about, books that you have not read and know abut
and plan to read, trivial books that you have mostly forgotten but
fragments of which float in your consciousness, books you know about and
others think you should read but which  you have no intention of
reading, and so on.

Moishe Postone, _Time, Labor, and Social Domination_ (Univ. of Chicago
Press, 1997[?]). Chapter on the history of time. In the whole of human
history prior to developments in Europe between the 14th and 17th
centuries, and in most of the world until the 19th century, events
measured time rather than time measuring events. Medieval Europe as an
example: There were 24 events in the daily schedule of a monastery; 12
occurred at night; 12 occurred in the day. Each measured an hour. The
result was that a medieval hour was the same as our hour only at the
fall and spring equinoxes, because as fall turned to winger, the night
hours measured more than 60 minues and the day hours measured less than
60 minutes.

Now, whether you ever read it or not you  have another book in your
library. And your sense of it will be pretty confused, grounded only in
my very crude paraphrase of a long and complex chapter in the book.

Books exist only if they are preserved and made available. In principle
a library contains all those books. In vulgar practice, as you say, that
doesn't and can't happen. But surely there is nno way to seriusly think 
about actual libraries if we don't have a some kind of knoweldege ot THE
LIBRARY (or the existing monuments).

Carrol


> 
> Diana
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2010 22:04:34 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Interesting examples--Eliot and internationalism
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> I agree with this commentary, though I wonder how it can be made to
> exist in the current state of publishing.  Possibly one could have a
> total virtual library--though I love paper but could print out I
> assume--but how do you see a reader finding a way through a total
> library?  This is a real question--I think Borges is right, but the
> books that have been recovered have, ironically, been the ones in
> libraries.  Recovery has to include some distribution.
> Cheers,
> Nancy
> 
> >>> 01/03/10 7:55 PM >>>
> One strength of Borges' conception of the open, inclusive library is
> that texts disfavored at the time of their creation or subsequently
> but widely read and appreciated by later audiences and then again
> disfavored would have a perpetual home in the tradition, available for
> recovery and rereading. That approach would avoid the need for
> scholars like Judith Fetterley to "recover" and resurrect even
> relatively recent texts that a male dominated publishing industry has
> rendered unavailable. Borges' library is a helpful precondition for
> the preservation of work by incompletely or never enfranchised
> writers. It avoids the problem of Gray's unseen blushing rose and
> renders us the richer while at the same time permitting the
> possibility of learning from a wider range of thought than that
> allowed by a patriarchal tradition implicitly driven and limited by
> contemporary bias and the limits of market capitalism.
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Sun, Jan 3, 2010 4:37 pm
> Subject: Interesting examples--Eliot and internationalism
> 
> I think these are just examples of points of departure. [both come
> from the conclusions of the articles if you wish to check them.]  But
> both strike me as ways of thinking that are not present in most of
> what we read.  I do not have any investment in either claim; I just
> find them deeply interesting and unlike most Anglo-American
> discussions, though I think Hugh MacDiarmid took a line much like that
> of Borges in his vision of worldwide inclusion. I would love to hear
> reactions:
> 
> From "Jorges Luis Borges Rewrites Eliot" by Juan E. De Castro:
> 
> More than Eliot's Eurocentric and rather abstract literary order,
> Borges's tradition is a 'library, where ideally everything is
> preserved and where the system of preservation makes no distinction at
> all between good books and bad' (Guillory 1995, 240). The library is
> one of the central figures in Borges's writings; indeed, in 'Poem of
> the Gifts', he claims "I imagined paradise as a library' (1996m 146).
> Borges explored the notion of the 'total library'--a library that
> includes every possible book--in his essay of the same name and, in
> nightmarish terms, in his story, 'The Library of Babel'.
> 
> 
> . . .
> 
> Borges's conceptualization of tradition as a library implies a denial
> of qualitative classification based on influence, content, place of
> origin, language or putative quality.  Moreover, he hints at the
> possibility of a non-Eurocentric version of literary tradition that
> would include, but not be limited to, the literary monuments of
> Europe.  His denial of chronology and his privileging of the act of
> reading in the constitution of tradition is designed to empower
> writers from apparently marginal or supposedly new countries.  In
> this, as in his ability to combine Eutopean cultural elements with
> local Argentine and non-Western elements, Borges is indeed, as
> Aizenerg maintained, a 'postcolonial precursor', who is 'for
> postcolonial writers . . . a reference point beyond his general
> preeminence in a European-North American repertoire of culture'.
>      Yet it is necessary to keep in mind that Borges's vision of
> tradition is a modification--even radicalization--of ideas found in
> Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent'. Like Eliot, Borges is
> ultimately concerned with reconciling an awareness of literary
> tradition with innovation, in other words, of transforming the
> European and World traditions from cultural dead weights into sources
> of literary productivity and innovation.  By using Eliot as the
> theoretical starting point for conclusions that contradict the poet's
> Eurocentric vision of tradition, Borges exemplifies the manner in
> which European texts can be used against their grain.  At the same
> time, the very fact that Borges's critical innovations stem from the
> Anglo-American poet's influential essay testifies to the richness of
> Eliot's critical writings.
> ****************************
> 
> or from "T. S. Eliot and La Nouvelle Revue Franšaise," by William
> Marx:
> 
>      Eliot's assertion of classicism, then, made it difficult for his
> French colleagues to understand his position.  The writers of the NRF
> could not reconcile the conservatism of Eliot's classicism with the
> radical modernism of his poetry, which seemed by French standards to
> embody a sort of anti-classicism.  The idea that Eliot's modern poetry
> could change the English tradition while supporting it seemed
> contradictory to French critics, for whom rejection was requisite to
> progress.  Anglo-Saxon modernism issued from a supple, ever-changing
> tradition, while French modernism rose up against classicism's
> limits.  Like any other French movement, it began as anti-classic, and
> was accepted as part of the classics only when a new movement rose up
> to defy it.  There are two different modernisms because there are two
> different ways of relating to the past, with rupture or with
> continuity: this was Eliot's lesson from La Nouvelle Revue Franšaise.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Hotmail: Powerful Free email with security by Microsoft. Get it now.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



PO.MISSOURI.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager